Yesterday I attended Mass at a local Catholic Church that I have not visited before.
As I sat in the pew with my wife, waiting for Mass to start I was very moved when a man in his mid-forties came and sat two benches in front of me and kissed his father on the cheek and then his mother as he sat down between them.
As he kissed his father he caught my eye and I smiled but inwardly I was deeply moved because I have never seen a man kiss a father or a brother or a son for that matter above say the age of twelve years old in the UK.
I tried to remember when my father had kissed me for the last time, or for that matter, the last time I had kissed him – I certainly was a child – he used to wipe his mouth first with the back of his hand and then after kissing me he would rub his stubbly face against my small face to make me laugh.
I have also followed the cultural conditioning of the UK culture to withdraw showing affection to my nephews for example with a kiss at about the age of twelve.
It all begins to feel a bit awkward and I think that the uncertainty and confusion rests first with the adult who tentatively puts out a hand to the upturned face and says something like ” you’re a young man now, lad – let’s shake hands”
I know that I have missed terribly the physical and emotional contact that I needed over the years with my father and brothers and uncles as I struggled to cope with my sexual identity.
To witness that man kiss his father so lovingly, unleashed within me a feeling of how I think it should be for all of us, because kissing a male relative has got absolutely nothing to do with being gay and yet our culture seems to infer that it does.
My next blog will be : Preparing for being coached